No. 20 Michigan pulls away to beat Bradley 77-66By NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer Thursday, Dec 22, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—After beating a team with his own son on its staff, Michigan coach John Beilein insisted there were no mixed feelings.
“I’ve been like this my whole life,” Beilein said. “I’m so focused in the game, my mother could be on the other bench—my late mother, bless her heart, she could be on the other bench … and you know what, she’d be the same way. Your job is to win that game.”
Evan Smotrycz had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added a soaring dunk during a decisive run in the second half to lead the 20th-ranked Wolverines to a 77-66 win over Bradley on Thursday night. Beilein’s son Patrick is Bradley’s director of basketball operations, and he had a bit more trouble than his father blocking out the unusual circumstances.
“Once the ball went up, and Michigan scores, and I see my mom clapping,” Patrick Beilein said. “I follow Michigan so much when we’re not playing them, I had to flip the switch to, `I’m with Bradley.”’
The game was tied at 45 in the second half when Smotrycz made a 3-pointer to put Michigan (10-2) ahead to stay. Bradley (5-7) still trailed by one at 50-49 when the Wolverines went on a 21-7 run.
Hardaway dunked off an alley-oop pass from Stu Douglass in transition, then added a layup immediately after that to make it 65-54.
Hardaway scored 16 points, and Jordan Morgan scored 13 of his 15 in the second half. Morgan’s inside presence ensured that Michigan wouldn’t have to rely on its surprisingly erratic outside shooting. The Wolverines were 10 of 31 from 3-point range but had 25 assists and only six turnovers against a Bradley team that played zone defense.
“You don’t want to try to settle. That’s why they run the zone, to try to get you out of your rhythm,” Morgan said. “We really played unselfish, took care of the ball.”
Trey Burke had 12 points and eight assists for the Wolverines, and Zack Novak scored 11 points.
It was the second double-double in a row for Smotrycz, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds against Alabama A&M on Saturday.
Taylor Brown led Bradley with 17 points, including a 3-pointer from about 35 feet on the final shot of the first half that tied the game at 33.
The Braves had the first half’s other highlight too, a dunk by Shayok Shayok that the Bradley freshman celebrated a little too exuberantly. Shayok was called for a technical foul.
All 10 starters finished in double figures, but neither team’s bench contributed much scoring. A 3-pointer by Douglass in the first half accounted for all of Michigan’s scoring by non-starters.
Bradley’s bench was scoreless until Jake Eastman made a 3-pointer late in the second to make it 75-66.
Walt Lemon Jr. scored 16 points for the Braves, and Shayok, Jordan Prosser and Dyricus Simms-Edwards added 10 each.
The Wolverines shot only 35 percent from the field in the first half of their final tuneup before starting Big Ten play next week against Penn State. They finished at 46 percent.
Patrick Beilein said he plans to stick around Michigan for Christmas with family.
“It was looking like it might’ve been a rough Christmas, when we were giving them a run,” Patrick Beilein said. “It’ll probably be a better Christmas than if we would have beaten them, that’s for sure.”
A few minutes later, down the hall in an interview room, John Beilein said almost the exact same thing and drew a chorus of laughs.
“I’m sure that we’ll have a better Christmas than we would have had if he had beaten us, that’s for sure,” the Michigan coach said. “My mother raised me to be a tough guy—just win, baby.”